A young girl, after being raped and murdered, becomes trapped in the “in-between,” a world between heaven and earth. There she watches her family cope with her death and search for her killer.
I should start by saying that I have not read the book, and so I cannot offer any thoughts on how the film compares, though I’d bet it’s not nearly as good. My general feelings are that despite some dazzling visuals (see above), this is an overly-sentimental mess. A nightmarish story is told as though it were a G-rated family film, which is surprising coming from someone like Peter Jackson who made his name off gruesome horror films like Dead Alive and Bad Taste (which are both incredible by the way). I do admire the filmmakers for attempting something as ambitious as this, but the result is a collection of hit or miss moments, strung together awkwardly.
The performances are every bit as inconsistent. Stanley Tucci is effective as the killer, however they couldn’t help but make him match the exact pedophile stereotype. Look up pedophile in the dictionary and you’ll likely find a picture of this guy. Not to mention that his favorite hobby is to build dollhouses. Saoirse Ronan is decent as the young girl, Rachel Weisz is excellent in her limited screentime as the mother, and Mark Wahlberg is just terrible.